Which Nursing Specialties are in Demand for Travelers?

by Howard Gerber on March 28, 2013

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Travel nursing jobs can be a great way to see the country and get paid. Although there are travel opportunities in most areas of nursing, such as pediatrics, telemetry and medical floor nursing, some specialty areas of nursing are sought after. If you want to increase your chances of getting the locations and assignments you want, is there a certain nursing specialty that makes you more marketable? The answer is yes and no.

There really is a wide variety of assignments for all types of nurses. The demand for certain specialties in nursing also changes. For instance, just because you are a medical, surgical floor nurse, does not mean you can’t find a great travel assignment. Still, there are some areas of nursing that seem to be more in demand than others.

Nurses who specialize in critical care may find they have multiple opportunities when it comes to working as a travel nurse. Usually nurses must have a year or two critical care experience before being offered an assignment. Nurses with intensive care experience are sought after at both large medical centers and smaller community hospitals. One advantage to hiring travel nurses with critical care experience is they may be used to float between different intensive care units, such as the medical, surgical, and cardiac intensive care units.

Neonatal intensive care nurses have specialized training, which makes them very marketable to staffing agencies hiring traveling nurses. Neonatal nursing is different from adult critical care nursing. Nurses who have experience with both specialties will have an even greater chance of finding a traveling nursing job in their desired locations.

Labor and Delivery
Nurses who specialize in labor and delivery also may find they have several opportunities when it comes to travel assignments. Labor and delivery nurses who are also able to work in postpartum and the nursery may have the greatest opportunities. Keep in mind, not only do labor and delivery nurses get travel assignments in hospitals, but some positions may also be available in birthing centers.

Other Specialties
If you think of nursing specialties, you may first think of traditional specialties, such as those listed above, but nursing continues to evolve. There are so many specialized areas of nursing, which you may be able to find travel nursing jobs. Some specialties where nurses may find traveling assignments include dialysis, wound care, hospice and intervention radiology.

Additionally, technology has created the need for new nursing specialties. Many hospitals have switched to electronic medical records (EMR). Nurses experienced in informatics and EMR systems may be needed to help hospitals train staff on new systems being implemented.

The bottom line is this: the more training you have, the more in demand you will be. Having specialized skills, additional certifications and experience is always beneficial. This translates in to getting better travel assignments, higher pay and more opportunities. Keep in mind that you probably should not go into an area of nursing just because you want to work as a traveler. What’s hot and in demand may change when you’re ready to travel. Finding an area of nursing you enjoy and seeking advanced training is your best bet. After that, you may find you have a variety of travel opportunities available.


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